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In Response To The Pew Hispanic Center, Joe Guzzardi Issues His Own Immigration/Wages Impact Report
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August 18, 2006, 05:00 AM
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Here`s a new study I recommend to anyone who really wants to understand immigration`s impact on U.S. jobs and salaries.

The report, titled "Joe Guzzardi`s Immigration Employment Analysis As Viewed From the Frontline" is most valuable when read as a companion piece to VDARE.COM`s Edwin S. Rubenstein`s archive and particularly his VDARE American Worker Displacement Index or VAWDI columns.

Before unveiling my own work, let me step back briefly to comment on the much-maligned (and deservedly so) Pew Hispanic Center`s Growth in the Foreign-Born Workforce and Employment of the Native Born. Its conclusion: the presence of immigrants in the job market created "few" negative effects on wages for American workers.

On its very surface, the Pew report is such nonsense that even a fourth grader would scoff at it.

How is it possible for 20 million immigrants—give or take a couple of million—to have come to the United States since 1990, the starting date of Pew`s study, and not create an adverse market for job-seeking Americans?

Just think about it—immigrants arrive, legally or illegally. Save for the infinitesimal percentage that lives with their sponsors, they need one of two things: a job or social services.

Which is easier to get if you can`t speak English, don`t know how to fill out forms and are fresh in a country where money rules?

Not all 20 million immigrants are of working age, Pew correctly argues.

But according to the most recent Census data, during the four years from 2000-2003, more than 76 percent of all immigrants are 18 or older.

In short, a huge number of illegal immigrants—most of them young, unskilled and hungry—are unleashed into the employment market each year. 

Yet Pew has the audacity to issue some gobbledygook report attempting to convince people not to worry, that no harm is done to American workers.

Pew can peddle its smoke and mirrors analysis at the New York Times. But here in the real world at VDARE.COM, Pew would have a better chance of selling us the Brooklyn Bridge than convincing us its "study", as I will generously label it, has any merit.

Now let`s go to my own report—anecdotal but more accurate than Pew`s.

To share my insider`s knowledge of what goes on with immigrants and jobs, I`ll use my 2006-2007 English as a Second Language class list.

Of the twenty students currently enrolled, a mix of Mexicans, Pakistanis and Southeast Asians, fifteen of them work. They have jobs that Americans would certainly do assuming they were paid a living wage…a cook at Denny`s, a baker, a waitress in a recently opened upscale bistro, a factory worker.

Another student will soon assume a supervisor`s position at a major supermarket chain.

Two other students informed me today they would not return. They`re off to North Carolina—a favorite destination for those who can`t cut it in California—to take jobs arranged for them by their families.

Among the five students who don`t work, they may soon be employed. As the tomato harvest approaches, Pacific Coast Producers cannery`s total of new hires and old returnees will consist of a high percentage of immigrants, as it does every year.

Owned years back by Stokley Van-Camp, the cannery was once Lodi`s "in" place to work.

Parents arranged for their teenage children to be hired on for the peak summer season. And the teenagers had their first summer flirtations and romances with other working kids.

Not any more.

The dice are loaded against the America worker. Here`s a conversation I overheard:

One illegal alien advised another to apply at McDonalds after 3:00 P.M. when the on-duty supervisor never asks about "papeles." The day manager, according to the didactic alien, should be avoided however since he is a "gringo" and "flojo" about "papeles."

There`s more. My students are upwardly mobile. Every day, the Lodi News-Sentinel, where my weekly op-ed column appears, provides the class with complementary copies of the newspaper.

While the newspaper`s main purpose is to generate conversations about world and national events, the page the students turn to first is the employment section.

Even though most of them are working, they`re looking for better jobs…maybe yours.

This classroom profile repeats itself several times during the school year. One group of students finds work and moves on. Then another enters to take its place.

My students, labeled intermediate level ESL learners according to California State Department of Education standards, speak stilted English.

But getting hired is no problem. How hard is it to get by on the job when all that`s required is to say or understand "Scramble two?"

My final observation: my classroom has sixty seats—but only twenty students. Since the Lodi Adult School neighborhood is abundant with non-English speakers, the classes should be standing room only.

School administrators and casual observers want to know why the immigrants aren`t lined up at the door.

The answer is simple: even though few speak English and hardly any have assimilated, they`re working at decent lower middle class jobs—jobs that should be reserved for Americans.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.